Helen is currently the Executive Director at Sam’s Place NW Ltd. She has been in this role since November 2019 when the Work Experience Project and RISE Project that she had developed under Blackpool Carers Centre were taken over to Sam’s Place.
After running a successful flooring company for 10 years Helen went on to follow a dream of working with people with disabilities and worked as a one to one support in a primary school for a boy with a physical and learning disability. In this role she discovered a great passion in encouraging independence and promoting the strengths of people with different abilities. Helen then became the Work Experience Coordinator at Blackpool Carers Centre and facilitated bespoke placements for young people aged 15 to 19 at three local special schools. Helen worked closely with the schools and the young people and realised there was a lack of provisions in the area for these young people to develop work, life and social skills to promote independence. In the summer holidays of 2018 Helen set up RISE as a pilot scheme with the help of volunteer Stephanie Woodhead. They invited some of the young people that Helen had worked with on the Work Experience Project to join. It was only a small group but from the feedback gathered it proved to be a huge success. With support from her team Helen used her passion, business skills and determination to develop the RISE Project into what it is today. Helen feels constant development is vital and will regularly seek feedback from staff and beneficiaries to ensure we are delivering a relevant, meaningful and progressive service. Although Helen’s time is now spent writing bids and leading the charity, she is still very much involved with the young people and loves nothing more than chatting to a student about their ideal job or helping to prepare a meal with the RISE group.